We often see the image of Smokey Bear and quickly relate it to our national parks. Outdoor fire safety is not only important in remote forested areas but in our suburban areas as well. A small mulch or brush fire can easily spread out of control and expose structures. A red flag WARNING is in effect for Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Madison, Cortland, Tompkins, Chenango, Schuyler, Otsego, and southern Cayuga counties between 1pm and 7pm today, May 4. A red flag WARNING means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, very low relative humidity, and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Therefore, outdoor burning is strongly discouraged. Here are some precautions you can take: -- Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged as fires could very quickly become out of control. -- Do not discard cigarettes or matches outside. These can also quickly start a fire. -- If you see a fire, please report it to the proper authorities and stay a safe distance away It may quickly spread due to gusty winds.